Anshel Pfeffer

Israel fears new war as Egypt teeters on brink of anarchy

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 24, 2011

A former Israeli defence minister has said that the growing chaos in Egypt could lead to an all-out conflict on Israel's southern border.

Knesset member Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who had close relations with the Mubarak regime, said on Monday that while Israel needed to maintain its co-operative relationship with Egypt, "it's not working now".

"We are willing to co-ordinate everything with them

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Bibi softens stance on 'anti-democratic' laws

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 24, 2011

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to "soften" the controversial laws passed in the Knesset over the past couple of weeks.

Mr Netanyahu is trying to convince the public that, contrary to the accusations of the opposition - and even some of the members of his own party - he is not pushing an "anti-democratic" agenda.

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Warning over religious coercion in IDF sparks anger

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

A petition signed by 19 former generals cautioning against religious coercion in the IDF is causing uproar in the army.

The petition follows series of flashpoints involving religious soldiers.

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Is Israel going it alone in Iran?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

A large explosion that killed a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander near Tehran last Saturday has been attributed by various intelligence sources to Mossad.

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Netanyahu against vetting of Supreme Court judges

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

The political battle over new laws aimed at limiting foreign funding of human rights organisations and changing Israel's Supreme Court continued to rage this week, with no clear winner emerging.

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Syria has two friends left - and more enemies

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 17, 2011

The double blow this week to the Syrian régime - official isolation in the Arab world and the audacious attack by defectors against an Air Force Intelligence compound near Damascus - is further proof that time is running out for Bashar al-Assad.

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Pressure mounts on Syria's Assad after air base attack

By Anshel Pfeffer and Jessica Elgot, November 16, 2011

Dozens more people have died in continuing unrest in Syria, after the country was suspended by the Arab League last week.

In their most high - profile attack so far, Syrian rebels have attacked a major military base near Damascus. Reports say that the Air Force Intelligence building in Harasta, north of the capital, has been partially destroyed by the Free Syrian Army.

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Battle on for control of Israel's Supreme Court

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

Left and right are fighting it out in the Knesset over the future composition of the senior bench of Israel's judiciary.

Next week, the Judiciary Appointments Committee will select three new judges for the Supreme Court in Jerusalem and the politicians are trying to influence its decisions.

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Mossad man got Gilad out. Can he bag Turkey?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

In a new effort at reconciliation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week appointed David Meidan, the former Mossad operative who spearheaded the Shalit prisoner deal, as his special envoy to the Turkish government.

In what is seen as an encouraging move in Jerusalem, Turkey has accepted the move and Mr Meidan will be meeting senior officials in Ankara over the next few weeks in an attempt

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Why did Prosor meet Le Pen?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 10, 2011

Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UN, is one of Israel's most canny and prescient diplomats - as many in London will know from his time as envoy to Britain.

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Will the world act on Iran?

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 9, 2011

The release of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme this week has ended talk of an independent Israeli strike on Iran — for now.

Israel’s leadership is now waiting to see how the international community — and specifically the Obama administration — react to the report.

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Israel fears Tel Aviv is next target

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 3, 2011

The violent escalation around the Gaza Strip last weekend and the launching of Grad rockets at Israeli cities by Islamic Jihad have raised concerns that Tel Aviv may be soon be a target.

"Hamas in Gaza already has dozens of missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv," said a senior defence official, "and to a lesser degree, Islamic Jihad has similar capabilities.

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Plan to order Arab players to sing Israeli national anthem

By Anshel Pfeffer and Simon Griver, November 3, 2011

After a three-month recess, the Knesset began its winter session on Monday with a slew of nationalist legislation on its agenda.

National Union Party MK Michael Ben-Ari has tabled a plan to require members of Israeli national sports teams to sing the national anthem and to sign a document recognising Israel as a Jewish state or face being banned.

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UNESCO vote prompts Israel anger

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 3, 2011

Israel has responded to the acceptance of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) with a range of sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.

But ministers are split over whether funds to the PA should be cut off.

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More joy as Egypt frees 'spy' Grapel

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 27, 2011

American-Israeli Ilan Grapel is to be released this weekend from prison in Cairo, four months after being arrested on charges of "spying" for Israel.

Mr Grapel, a student at Emory University in Atlanta, spent several years in Israel and served in the Paratroopers Brigade. He is to be released in exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israel on smuggling charges.

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Quartet in push to jump-start lifeless peace negotiations

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 27, 2011

Representatives of the international Quartet returned to Israel this week in an attempt to reanimate the peace process.

A first round of new talks had been planned for this visit but these are not yet happening.

The Palestinian Authority has issued a number of conditions that Israel must meet before it will agree to negotiations, including a further release of Palestinian prisoners.

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One dilemma down, ten to go

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 19, 2011

Only two weeks ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to be at a political low.

His cabinet had refused to support the much vaunted Trachtenberg Report, which he had hoped would reverse the tide of the social protest that dominated the news agenda throughout the summer.

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How seething Egypt surprised the world and sealed the deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 19, 2011

On October 9, in the most violent demonstrations in Egypt since the revolution, the Christian Coptic minority took to the streets to protest.

Twenty-four civilians and soldiers were killed on that day. But throughout the rioting and the bloody reprisals by the military, Major General Murad Muwafi, director of Egypt's feared Mukhabarat intelligence service remained closeted away.

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Fears over settler terror attack

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 11, 2011

Racist vandalism spread from the West Bank and the north into the centre of Israel over the past week.

Although the latest rash of attacks began last week when settlers set fire to a Galilee mosque, security services do not believe that this weekend's incidents, which took place in Jaffa and Bat-Yam, were carried out by settlers.

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PA calls on Europe to back its UN bid

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 11, 2011

The Palestinian Authority is trying to increase support for its bid for United Nations membership by lobbying various international organisations for endorsements.

Over the past two weeks, the Palestinian leadership has gained various degrees of recognition from the United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, The Council of Europe and European Parliament.

UNESCO's exec

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